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This 33 message thread spans 2 pages: 33 ( [1] 2 > >     
Auction Growth Declines Hit eBay Q4 Earnings

 2:53 pm on Jan 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

Auction Growth Declines Hit eBay [marketwatch.com] Q4 Earnings
EBay Inc. said Wednesday that net income fell more than 30% during the fourth quarter as sales came under pressure from the slowing economy and increased competition. For the period ended Dec. 31, the online auction giant reported earnings of $367 million, or 29 cents a share, compared with earnings of $531 million, or 39 cents a share, for the same period last year.
Excluding charges related to stock options, the company said it would have earned $524 million, or 41 cents a share, for the recent period.
Revenue fell more than 6% to $2.04 billion.



 3:11 pm on Jan 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

What about a failing affiliate program? eBay can only blame themselves IMHO; they still don't have their post-CJ act together. Apart from that, their business model is stagnant.


 3:50 pm on Jan 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

I have not heard of a single friend of mine buying anything off eBay in over a year. No one talks about them anymore. Something is definitely changing.


 4:21 pm on Jan 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

I decided to experiment with eBay a bit in December. Listed a couple of things - one of which cost $30 to buy new online and the item I listed was in like new condition. I started the bidding at one penny. Guess what it sold for? Similar story with the other items. Needless to say I won't be unloading any of my stuff for a penny there. Craigslist has taken over the "get rid of your stuff/find new stuff cheap" market.


 4:24 pm on Jan 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

Apart from that, their business model is stagnant.

It's not just stagnant, they have been doing things to rid themselves of some of the small individual sellers in favor of larger organizations.

And I don't know how this is related, but I've been reading they are beginning to enhance the p#rn section, formerly known as the "Mature Audience" category and now the "Adults Only" category. My understanding is, among other things, they are reversing a prior policy and allowing PayPal to be used to purchase p#rn products sold on eBay.



 4:25 pm on Jan 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

Sales slowed because their systems have run off their best sellers.

Like Walmart and McDonalds, eBay SHOULD be booming during a bad economy as people look for bargains and get motivated to sell out of desperation.

Their 10-20% fee structure (on top of Paypal fees, etc) have caused more of this than anything. They simply made if unprofitable for many people to continue to use eBay.

This doesn't even take into account a new 'feedback' system which rewards criminals and punishes honest sellers because the crooks know they can use 'feedback hostage' tactics to get their way.

..and no, I don't sell on eBay - but the grumblings and dissatisfaction have been going on for the last year in online forums, etc.


 4:30 pm on Jan 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

Ebay used to be great, but over the past couple of years the quality of the auctions has went right down hill. I simply dont use them as much as I used to. Ebay has moved from a pure auction sytle site to more of a bargin bin store. Its not the same and user are seeign this.

Ebay need to act to weed out the junk and retain quality.



 4:33 pm on Jan 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

What about a failing affiliate program? eBay can only blame themselves IMHO; they still don't have their post-CJ act together.

I completely disagree. It might still be a bit rough around the edges but and they certainly did have some tracking problems, it has come a long way and is without a doubt one of the best affiliate programs in the US at the moment IMHO.

Their account managers are experienced and know their stuff.


 4:55 pm on Jan 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

The impact of the CPSIA on eBay is still an unknown and the first round of implementation is February 10 - just a few days from now.



 5:01 pm on Jan 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

Sold two very expensive high-end widgets (good condition, three and two years old, new list price $6,000 and $3,500) last September. I was quite pleased to find buyers for $3,000 and $2,500 respectively. This was a bit better than I had expected. The eBay fee was quite high, though. Anyway, I still like them. If only they would stop pestering me to try their new homepage. I don't like it. I don't want it.


 5:18 pm on Jan 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

In 2006 I stumbled on a decent eBay business and within 4 months was selling between $15k and $25k per month of clothing on eBay. This was a side job and I automated most of the operation. It was very profitable.

EBay then raised its fees. While it was still a good money maker the thing that killed the deal for me was the change in the feedback policy. Suddenly I had many people making demands that unless I gave in - they would leave negative feedback.

I was just one of many businesses that simply closed rather than fight the system.


 5:19 pm on Jan 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

Sold two very expensive high-end widgets (good condition, three and two years old, new list price $6,000 and $3,500) last September. I was quite pleased to find buyers for $3,000 and $2,500 respectively.

Thank goodness the Nigerian market is still strong. :)

Our experience with eBay over the years has been terrible. We haven't even been able to get wholesale cost out of a few very good, but overstocked, items we've tested there. And those were brand new.


 5:22 pm on Jan 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

hate to say that the only experience with ebay had to be settled through a dispute resolution for a car dvd system. i paid, waited 2 wks, emailed, no replies from seller, paypal resolution, finally got the system about a month later; circa summer of 2007; haven't used them since.

DataSure Wiz

 5:49 pm on Jan 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

I was going to start to sell wholesale goods on ebay - but did some investigation on fees policies etc and came to the conclusion it was not worth the effort. Seems to me like they are gearing up for using the big boys to make a fast buck and dont care what they sell as long as its profiable - FOR THEM.


 5:54 pm on Jan 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

For a while I looked for everything on ebay as well as other stores. But not so much anymore. I used to be a powerseller and took pride in always shipping same day or next morning. Some times a hundred items a day.

As a buyer, inconsistency is a problem. I ordered some holiday type led lights on ebay. Found a seller one state over from me and thought I'd probably get them faster than a "real company" across the country. Wrong. This powerseller was so busy that he took three weeks to ship. I wound up ordering from a real company, got a delivery date, etc. A week after the supposed delivery date, I'm told they are back-ordered. I got everything a few days before Christmas. Little late to decorate.

If Amazon sells it, I always get it within two days.

The other problem with ebay is all the non-item crap. You look for an exact item and half of the results are tips, coupons and ebooks for .99 or such. Hard to find the real item.


 6:23 pm on Jan 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

Ebay's CEO, John Donahoe, and his concepts of "disruptive thinking" has torpedoed the company. He tried to fix something that wasn't broken and this 4Q report of declining sales and profits is just the first in what should be a long string of failures.

Fees are too high, the feedback system has been bastarized (sellers can't leave negs for buyers) and just today they launced their new "my Ebay" which everyone hates.

Donahoe will go down in history as one of the worst CEOs ever to set foot in an executive suite. He's got all these metrics and neat-sounding ideas, but absolutely no common sense. He's made it nearly impossible to attract new sellers and has alienated most of the good ones from the past 10 years.

It will be interesting to see how the company decides to break up because they have a very profitable PayPal, a large user base in Skype and a screaming horde in eBay.

The company is in deep trouble, all created by the CEO. Sound familiar (hint: banks)? They all went to the same business schools, I think, ones that put more emphasis on rewarding executives than planning and executing a strategy that rewards CUSTOMERS and shareholders.

Ebay will not last through 2009 in its current structure.

Death of the Man

 7:10 pm on Jan 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

Craigslist has taken over the "get rid of your stuff/find new stuff cheap" market.

I like Amazon, but you have to let it sell "in the fullness of time".


 7:13 pm on Jan 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

Ebay will not last through 2009 in its current structure.

I have no doubt they will still be around. However the time is ripe for some competition for them.


 8:54 pm on Jan 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

Ebay/Paypal fee's are way to high and that is their largest problem. Plus now Pay Pal is the only method of payment Ebay allows. No more checks, money orders or third party credit card processing. In some cases Ebay takes 10%-20% of the final selling value. (Very Greedy)

Most power sellers started their own websites and advertised via Google adwords and saved a bunch of money on fee's!


 9:43 pm on Jan 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

Especially now with "BEST MATCH" I have only jut listed another auction tonight that costs 48.00 for 10 days.

This is only for an item that sells for 2.49 with shipping.


 9:50 pm on Jan 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

High fees, sellers not being able to leave neg feedback for buyers, PayPal craziness (If you ever buy something through PayPal, do it with a CC AND if you have problems and the amount of the transaction is above whatever PayPal will refund, go directly to the CC company! If PP gives you a partial refund then it is a big hassle with the CC company), screwing with the interface, etc... have all combined to put Ebay where it is now. How in the heck could sales go DOWN when MSN was offering that cash back program around the holidays of between 8% and 30%?

I used to buy stuff all the time on Ebay and sometimes I still do. Was looking at one listing yesterday where the merchant was practically begging any buyers not to give them negative feedback, offering to do virtually ANYTHING to satisfy the buyer & quoting the bible and everything else because of the ramifications of any bad feedback.

Ebay was probably my favorite site back in the day. Still use it but it is going downhill.


 10:58 pm on Jan 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

It would be interesting to see how many people who read this thread were once power sellers and for them to give reasons why you left!

We were power sellers doing about $10k a month on eBay. We had a $28 chargeback for one item (The only chargeback we ever had, Someone hacked a pay pal account) and pay pal froze our account for 3 weeks which by the way had over $15,000 in it. After numerous calls to their customer service (Attempting to unfreeze our account) and getting the run around (They claimed they had to do an investigation) we made the decision to stop all together. Pay Pal finally unfroze our account after our attorney contacted them. Needless to say over three years we paid eBay/PayPal well over $30,000 in fee's they lost us over a $28 chargeback because their own PayPal system was not secure. The Pay Pal seller service really was not there. After all, they had $15,000 or our companies money and they froze an account over $28 for 3 weeks. That burned the trust factor we had in that company. Ironic thing is they call us once or twice a month trying to get our business back.

I am glad we did get out, because now they are known not as eBay, but as feEbay.


 6:04 am on Jan 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Funny people are blaming eBay for slow delivery problems with some sellers and achieving low prices themselves as sellers. EBay screwed things up by stopping sellers from being able to give negative feedback, but I do well out of them. Also, one of the caveats on eBay is you can display your email ady on your auction pages for buyers to contact you by - guess which one I use?! Yes, I have my own domain (with email account of course) / sales site as well, so this is a bonus. Actually it works well for eBay too, as I mention I have other items I may be prepared to list on eBay and regularly get people asking if I will do this, which I will, for a refundable PayPal payment from them (covering my eBay fees to list and to show they are earnest) plus an agreement to bid within 24 hours (I set the starting bid at 75% of my sales site price); if they do not bid, I pull the item, simple.

So perhaps it is not the fault of eBay but of certain users?

As for whines about affiliate commissions. So many affiliates, so much Hormel; oh dear.

I would love an auction site for the EU using the free / very low cost (unless you bank with someone very greedy) IBAN payment system (e.g. payment made to auction house, auction house pays seller once buyer confirms receipt), but it is too much for me to do (problem being the interface with a banking merchant account and the liability thereof). But there it is for someone to become a billionaire.............

work together

 10:06 am on Jan 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Perhaps if they gave better service they might do better. Look after their sellers better, don't be so greedy, don't cheese off affiliates who helped build their buinsess. We to used to be a powerseller but I will nolonger use them.

I'm glad people are going elsewhere


 12:02 pm on Jan 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Ive been going of Ebay for anumber years as the fees are way to high - I close my account with them recently.

Cant stand the place


 2:05 pm on Jan 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

I see writing on the wall - 800# gorillas are losing market share and are mere background noise. They can't keep up with the more nimble smaller companies that can keep costs down, customer service and quality up.

In a way, they've dug their own graves. Their brands wreak corporate but people are stepping away from corporate because of customer service issues and the generality of the companies.

I think Amazon & eBay will no longer be viewed as the place to pick up a quality product at a reduced rate because the manufacturer of the quality product will have several niche sites to sell on which will offer her/him a better return for the sale and generate more sales than Amazon. I think Amazon will become the dime store of the Internet and sell products for new manufacturers and cheap imports.

Buyers want personal service and niche marketers are slowly winning them away from the gorillas. We may not be able to compete head to head with Amazon or eBay if we position ourselves as General Stores of the INet but we can compete with them and beat them handily in niche markets.


 3:10 pm on Jan 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thats a good point Lorax, Ive started buying my books from a small indie site where I can pick the phone and call their shop asking for a title, or im looking for a range of books in x subject, what can they get ?

Cant do that with Amazon, sure the others are more costly but by a few pounds.

Oh and they dont spam me every other minute of the day.


 9:11 am on Jan 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

Richard Garriott might wish he'd stayed in space, his neighbors can't hear him laughing from there.

Richard Garriott created the massively popular online game Ultima Online way back in 1997. Does the year sound familiar? Yes, his online virtual game embraced the players desire to run mini-businesses from within the game. Game items for money.

eBay got in on that early action and embraced Ultima Online auctions - low and behold they made up a significant part of ebay revenue in those critical years. Over the next few years the MMORPG market exploded, many of those games had auctions on ebay too.

Fast forward to recent times, eBay rids themselves of any game related auctions and bans any "non-tangible" items thus driving off all virtual item sellers. It seemed they were no longer good enough to partake of eBay. eBay blamed fraud however the solution is never to cut off important revenue streams with an all inclusive banning, they did.

Next they create their own in-house affiliate program and promptly chase off a large number of affiliates. They tinker with new systems of paying affiliates and alienate them further. They change the rates of payouts and have some auction types pay a flat fee if an item sells.

More tinkering. More "new" ideas changing how things are run. More spreading into other businesses like apparently pr@n and becoming vehicle shipping brokers instead of becoming actual carriers. More... but less.

BOTTOM LINE, and read this carefully eBay employees...

When a company decides it can implement it's will and make changes at will that the users don't really want, the system fails. ALL systems fail in this scenario, some linger on painfully first.

SUCCESS - look at myspace and youtube as examples, companies who did NOT define what their service was beyond setting up the platform for members to use. In the case of myspace hacking the site ran rampant to change layout appearance BUT did myspace stop members from doing that? No, they embraced it, THAT was what the myspace members wanted and myspace understood that giving it to them was important.

eBay has come full circle now. A company who embraced what it's members wanted has become one that is heavy handed in every aspect. An ever growing number of disgruntled sellers, affiliates and users will attest to that.

enter craigslist. By far not as attractive, fewer features even, but in the end the members define the service and so it flourishes. eBays reaction is to tighten down on members further and further thus hastening the end.

eBay is no longer a booming growth story nor does it look like it will ever return to the glory days unless someone releases the leash a little bit and they cut the fat at the top. A company doesn't need so many high paid execs, advisers, managers etc...etc. A handful of web designers with open ears would serve MUCH better.

Will ebay wake up and stop trying to tell their members what the site is all about instead of allowing the members to define eBay? It doesn't seem likely.

edit: Julian Dibble wrote an excellent book called playmoney on the Ultima marketplace years ago when eBay was flourishing, an excellent eye opening read if eBay interests you. The mistakes eBay is now making become glaring if you follow some stories of that early excitement.

[edited by: JS_Harris at 9:13 am (utc) on Jan. 25, 2009]


 5:24 am on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

Edit for typo: the books name was Play Money, two words, and the authors last name is Dibbell, not Dibble. I had to dust off my copy and read a chapter last night after being reminded of the book.


 5:46 am on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

It takes a serious effort to upset buyers AND sellers at the same time, but ebay have achieved that.

As a buyer, I do not feel safe from bad sellers (despite all the stupid tricks they've used to upset good sellers).

As a seller, I do not feel safe from bad buyers (despite all the stupid tricks they've used to upset good buyers).

I used to buy and sell a lot; now they are a place of last resort - I didn't even browse for unwanted Christmas presents, historically the best time for a serious bargain.

And the site is so clunky ...

This 33 message thread spans 2 pages: 33 ( [1] 2 > >
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